Supreme Court of Pakistan annuls amendments to NAB Ordinance. Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah made up the three-judge bench headed by CJP Bandial.
In an order on Friday, the Supreme Court removed amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999 made last year and admitted a petition challenging it brought by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.
Supreme Court annuls amendments to NAB Ordinance
CJP Bandial led a three-judge bench, including Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, which announced the reserved verdict, which included the restoration of graft cases that had been closed following the amendments.
Among these are the Toshakhana references against Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and yousuf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), as well as LNG references against former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and rental power references against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
While Justice Shah disagreed with the majority verdict, the CJP and Justice Ahsan declared the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea maintainable.
Following the amendments to the laws, the apex court declared the verdicts issued by the accountability courts null and void and ordered NAB to forward the records to the relevant courts within seven days.
The National Assembly passed a bill last year in May repealing election reforms made by the PTI when it was in power, giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, and amending laws pertaining to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
In June 2022, Imran filed a petition challenging changes made to various provisions of the NAO that allegedly benefited influential accused persons and legitimized corruption among those facing Accountability Court proceedings.
In its earlier decision, the Supreme Court had reserved judgment on the petition. At the time, the chief justice had said: “Cooperation and valuable assistance rendered by petitioner’s counsel Khawaja Haris, the federation’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan and prosecutor general NAB was great.”
“We will retire to consider and reserve it, and announce the decision soon. Something short and sweet should come out, which may be done soon.”
Amendments to the Bill 2021
According to the NAB (Second Amendment) Bill 2021, the bureau’s deputy chairman, appointed by the federal government, would become acting chairman after the chairman’s term ends.
Additionally, the bill reduced the term of the NAB’s chairman and prosecutor general from four to three years.
Furthermore, the bill removes NAB’s jurisdiction over regulatory bodies in the country.
NAB’s jurisdiction was also limited to cases involving more than Rs500 million under the bill.